Thursday, 10 September 2015

Free Agency Frenzy Check-In Number 2

Time sure has passed fast, and preseason hockey will be underway in just 10 days!
Due to this information that no doubt shocks you beyond belief,  let’s take a look at 4 men of faith that have found work in the NHL since mid-July.

Eric Fehr
Eric Fehr signed a 3 year contract to join the Pittsburgh Penguins back on July 28th.            
Fehr scored 19 goals last season, and performed well as the Washington Capitals third center.            
He underwent surgery in the off-season before signing with the Penguins, and it looks like he should be ready for the start of the season.               

Matt Cullen
Nine days after Fehr signed with the Penguins, Matt Cullen joined him, signing a 1 year contract on August 6th.               
Cullen is still a productive NHL player, and should be a good fit with the Penguins as a depth forward.    
Cullen was a leader on the Nashville Predators last season, and tallied 25 points in 62 games.
Peter Budaj                    
Peter Budaj was invited to the Los Angeles Kings’ training camp on a professional tryout contract (PTO). 
Though Budaj has had success in the NHL in past years, winning at least 10 games in 6 seasons, last year he did not record a win in 19 appearances in the AHL. 
Budaj will have to pass Jonas Enroth on the Kings depth chart to be their back-up goalie, but let’s not count the veteran out.   

David Booth    
David Booth signed a PTO with the Florida Panthers yesterday, and will attend their training camp.   
David is a Panther alumnus, having played parts of 6 seasons with them. His most successful years in the NHL were in Florida. 
In each of his 3 full seasons with the Panthers, he scored over 20 goals.
He scored 7 goals and 13 points with the Toronto Maples Leafs last year.   
Let’s hope he can make the team.

Let's keep these men in our prayers as they seek to bring Christ glory on and off the ice. I’ll try to keep you updated on how their seasons are going. There are a lot more Christians out there in the NHL representing the faith too. God bless!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Free Agency Frenzy Check-In Number 1

Hello again everybody! It’s been just over a month since the Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in 6 years. The NHL draft has passed, and free agency is well underway.
Today we’ll look at 3 Christians that have recently been signed as free agents.

Mike Fisher
Mike Fisher re-signed with the Nashville Predators to a 2 year deal late last month. Fisher and Predators GM David Poile each had kind words for each other following the signing. Mike is happy to be sticking around Nashville for another 2 years. It will be a challenge for the Predators to win their division again next season, but re-signing Fisher was the right decision.
Paul Postma
Paul Postma re-signed with the Winnipeg Jets just over a week ago to a 2 year deal. Last year was a challenging one for Paul, but the contract extension will no doubt be a relief. You can expect him to be ready to compete for a top 6 defense position on the Jets when training camp comes around.

Dan Ellis
Dan Ellis has battled through a lot in his life, but he has earned himself another contract, as he was signed by the Washington Capitals to a 1 year deal about 2 weeks ago. He played in 8 games with the Florida Panthers last year, and it was enough to earn him a deal with the Capitals. He will be in a battle with Justin Peters for the Capitals backup goalie position.

There are still more Christians out there looking for contracts, most notably Eric Fehr, Matt Cullen, and David Booth. I'll keep you updated as the deals come in.

God bless you! Bye for now.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Staal Has Successful Surgery

A week after Marc Staal and the New York Rangers were bounced from the Conference Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Staal underwent successful surgery to remove a bone chip from his ankle. He is expected to be ready for training camp.

Staal tallied 20 points this past season with a plus 18 rating. He signed long-term contract extension with the Rangers during the season and should be back next season.

Please feel free to comment with any recommendation for future stories, or if you would like to be interviewed to share your experiences with Christianity in hockey.

God bless!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Third Round Well Underway

The third round of the 2015 NHL playoffs is well underway. Let’s see how Marc Staal is doing in his series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. We’ll also see where Dan Hamhuis and Team Canada finished at the World Championships.

Marc Staal
Staal and the Rangers are deadlocked with the Lighning at 2 games apiece in their Eastern Conference match-up. It’s been a wild past 3 games in particular, with 25 goals being scored. It was predicted to be a low scoring series, but that has not turned out to be the case. Lots of goals is never what a defensemen wants, but Staal has been battling with his Ranger teammates, and they came up with a 5-1 win last night.              

Dan Hamhuis
Dan Hamhuis and Team Canada have won the World Championship Gold Medal! Canada went undefeated on their way to winning the World Championship . Hamhuis picked up an assist in the goald medal game, as Canada routed Russia 6-1 for the victory. This is Canada’s first gold medal at the World Championships since 2007. Hamhuis was a member of both teams. Dan tallied 6 assists over the 10 games he played in the tournament, and did all he could to get Canada their gold medal!
Dan has one year remaining on his contract with the Vancouver Canucks, and will look to lead the Canucks back to the playoffs next season.
What great news seeing Hamhuis and Canada get gold. We’ve only got 1 last player to profile in the coming weeks, as Marc Staal and the Rangers hope to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight year. 

Have a great day! God bless!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Second Round Complete!

The second round of the 2015 NHL playoffs came to a conclusion last night! Let's take another look at how Marc Staal and Eric Fehr fehred(haha) in their series. We'll also check in on how Dan Hamhuis is doing at the World Championships.
Marc Staal
Marc Staal is moving on to the Conference Finals! He's played well for the Rangers in these playoffs, and played steady defense in their game 7 overtime win over the Washington Capitals. He had over 24 minutes of ice time, 2 takeaways and blocked shots, and a shot on goal. To advance to the third round of the playoffs, you need solid defense, and Staal has provided that for the Rangers.

Eric Fehr
Eric Fehr was able to return from injury for Washington's game 7 match up against the Rangers. Talk about getting thrown into the fire! Fehr had not played since game 3 of round 1 against the Islanders, but was back for the big game. Fehr blocked a shot and did well on the penalty kill, but was unfortunately on the ice for the Rangers overtime winner.
It’s an obvious disappointment for Fehr and the Capitals, but you have to move on and learn from it. It was a good season for Fehr who scored 19 goals in 75 games. As a pending free agent, you’d think Fehr would be signed to another contract this offseason.

The Rangers will advance to play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks faceoff in the Western Conference Finals. The third round will begin on Saturday.
Dan Hamhuis
In the World Championships, Dan Hamhuis has helped Canada advance to the semi-finals! Canada trounced Belarus in their quarter-final match up 9-0 earlier today. They will play the winner of Sweden and the Czech Republic's game, which will take place later today. Hamhuis has played well in the tournament, and was even given the honor to be the team’s captain for their last preliminary game against Austria. Canada's next game will be Saturday.
Fehr has seen his season come to an end, but we will still track Marc Staal and Dan Hamhuis as their seasons continue.

Have a great day! God bless you!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Round 2 Underway!

Hello again! The second round of the playoffs is well underway. 8 teams have been in battle to see who can advance to the semi-finals. Today we’ll look at how Eric Fehr and Marc Staal are doing in their playoff series. We’ll also check in on how Dan Hamhuis is doing in the World Championships.

Marc Staal
Though the New York Rangers find themselves down 2 games to 1 against the Washington Capitals, Staal has played well for them in the series. He has a +2 rating, and has logged over 20 minutes of ice-time in 2 of the games.

Eric Fehr
No doubt Eric Fehr is pumped up to see his Washington Capitals winning their series, but he has still been unable to return from injury. He was able to participate in practice today, but won't play tonight. When he’ll be able to return to the lineup remains uncertain.

Dan Hamhuis
Hamhuis was given the honor to represent Canada at the World Championships, and was also chosen as an assistant captain for the tournament. Canada has won their first 3 games, and Hamhuis has managed 3 assists and a +4 rating. Canada is facing off with Sweden in their fourth game as this article is written.

Thanks for reading. God bless!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

First Round Comes to a Close

Hello follks! The first round of the playoffs is officially over. 8 teams have been eliminated. 8 more are one step closer to hockey glory.

Last week, I profiled the 6 Christians I’m aware of that were involved in the playoffs. 1 was eliminated, and only 5 remained. We’ll take a look at how these remaining Christians in this year’s NHL playoffs did this past week.

Matt Cullen and Mike Fisher

Cullen and Fisher, who both play for the Nashville Predators, were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks this past week. Fisher returned in game 5 and added an assist to force game 6. In game 6, Cullen scored for the Predators as they battled to force game 7. Unfortunately, they gave up a 3-1 lead, and lost 4-3. Cullen and Fisher are both unrestricted free agents this offseason. Fisher seems sure he’ll get a deal done with the Predators, while Cullen is undecided if he will continue to play or retire. Both players played well for the Predators this past year will have contracts in the NHL next year if they want.

Dan Hamhuis

Hamhuis and the Canucks were eliminated this past week at the hands of the Calgary Flames. Hamhuis got an assist in the Canucks game 5 win, but despite the Canucks taking a 3-0 lead just 10 minutes into game 6, they lost 7-4 and were eliminated. Hamhuis’ season isn’t over yet though, as he will represent Canada at the 2015 World Championships. I’ll keep you updated on how that goes.
Eric Fehr

It’s been a good and bad week for Eric Fehr. Bad since he hasn’t been able to return from injury, and good since his team advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Fehr will travel with the Capitals to New York for their first 2 games against the Rangers, but his status is uncertain.

Marc Staal

Staal and the Rangers advanced to the second round this past week; with Staal logging 26:08 in the Rangers game 5 win which eliminated the Penguins. The Rangers are set to face Eric Fehr and the Washington Capitals in their next round. The Rangers are favored in the series, and are chomping at the bit to start the series with a game 1 win tonight.
That was a quick look at how the Christians playing in the NHL have fared. Matt Cullen and Mike Fisher have been eliminated, along with Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis will represent his country at the World Championships, while Marc Staal and Eric Fehr will battle each other in the second round of these 2015 NHL playoffs.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Christians in the NHL Playoffs

The 2015 NHL playoffs are underway!  Based on my current knowledge, 6 proclaimed Christians are participants in this year’s competition. Let’s take a look at each of them one at a time.

Paul Postma
The Winnipeg Jets were the first team eliminated from the 2015 NHL playoffs. Paul Postma, a defender for the Jets, has had many trials this season. After a blood clot was discovered in his leg last year and limited his play, Postma hoped to have a bounce back season. Injuries plagued the Jets defense core early in the season, and Paul played well in their absence. Once the team was healthy again, and due to the emergence of fellow defensemen Ben Chiarot and the acquisition of Jay Harrison, Postma became a healthy scratch for 27 straight games.
His opportunity to play again came on March 14th. The Jets were in dire need of a win to keep pace in the playoff race. Paul played well, and helped lead the Jets to an important win. He had shown he could still play. Two days later, it was revealed he had suffered an injury and would be out for multiple weeks. He never was able to return for the season. Tough break, but look for him to have a good season next year.
Matt Cullen
Matt Cullen is a versatile forward for the Nashville Predators, who is in his 17th NHL season. This is his second year with the Predators, and he has been an important veteran presence on the team during their breakout season. The Predators are one game from elimination, but will be able to count on Cullen as they strive to come back in their series.

Mike Fisher
Mike Fisher is another veteran forward on the Nashville Predators. His season got off on the wrong foot, as he was forced to miss the first 2 months of the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon during a training session in the summer. Once he returned to the lineup in late November, he was the effective leader we've gotten used to seeing perform so well. He also became a father, as his wife, Carrie Underwood, gave birth to their first child, Isaiah Michael Fisher. Exciting times for the Fisher family. On the ice unfortunately, he was injured in game 1 of the his series, and has been unable to return. His status for game 5 is unknown.
Dan Hamhuis
Dan Hamhuis is a defensemen for the Vancouver Canucks.  He has had to battle through some injuries this season and missed nearly 2 months of play after he tore his groin in November.  After he elected to not have surgery, he returned to the lineup in January. The injury has still plagued him, but he continues to battle like a warrior. The Canucks need 3 wins and no losses to get to the next round, and we know Dan will be there battling to the very end.

Eric Fehr
Eric Fehr is a forward for the Washington Capitals. He’s gone through a lot in his NHL career, and it appeared his career might’ve been over in 2012. After a stint in Europe during the NHL lockout, Fehr signed with the Capitals, and has had 3 productive seasons with them since. Similar to Mike Fisher, Fehr has been injured in his first round playoff series, and has not returned.

Marc Staal
Marc Staal, a defensemen for the New York Rangers, has enjoyed a healthy and productive season. 4 years removed from a serious concussion, and 2 years removed from a scary eye injury, Staal has been playing great hockey. His great play has rewarded him with a contract extension with the Rangers, and has helped them get 1 game away from advancing to the second round. No doubt they’ll be aiming to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals with a different result this time.
This was a quick look at some of the Christians playing in the NHL playoffs this year. In future weeks, I’ll keep you updated on how their playoffs are going. Unfortunately, Postma and the Jets are eliminated. Cullen and Fisher will hope to lead the Predators back in their series. Same goes for Dan Hamhuis. Fehr’s Capitals are even in their series, and Marc Staal seems destined to make the next round.

Let’s pray for them as they seek to glorify Christ with the gifts He has blessed them with.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Christian NHL All-Star Team

This weekend, hockey fans will turn their eyes to Columbus, Ohio for the 2015 All-Star festivities. The NHL’s most talented players will come together for a fun weekend that lets fans see a different side to some of their favorite players.

As I looked over the All-Star selections, I noticed that no professed Christians had been named to the roster. A Canadian hockey hero once said hockey is the sport least influenced by Christianity, but there still are some great Christian players in the NHL for us to all watch. Some have made it to the All-Star game in the past, and you can be sure we’ll see some there next season.

In light of all of this, I decided to make a Christian All-Star team!

Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Mike Fisher, Matt Cullen, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, Eric Fehr, David Booth, Mike Rupp, Matt Kassian, Corban Knight, Rocco Grimaldi

Marc Staal, Dan Hamhuis, Paul Postma, Noah Welch, Jacob Slavin, Sam Jardine

Cam Ward, James Reimer, Peter Budaj

Coach- Ryan Walter

There’s a quick look at some of the top Christians I’m aware of in hockey.

For Christians, it should never be about accolades and recognition from others. 1 Timothy 6:7 says; “For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can't carry anything out.”

That’s just a humble reminder that everything we do should be for Christ’s glory. There’s nothing wrong with making an All-Star team, and there’s nothing wrong with working hard and leading your team into the playoffs or to a championship, but we need to make sure results and recognition from others is not our focus.

I know this is a hockey blog, but Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks was a great example of this when he led his team back against the Green Bay Packers last weekend in thrilling fashion. The comments from some of his teammates show how highly they think of him and how well he conducted himself in the midst of struggles. It was a tough start for Russell, but at the end of the day, he made some big plays, and gave God the glory.

Let's finish with 1 Corinthians 10:31

“Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Thursday, 15 January 2015

James Reimer Persevering

It’s been a difficult season for James Reimer. Despite a good first month of the season, he was given a limited amount of starts, and didn't appear to get the shot to be the number one goalie he was promised . He has lost his last 4 starts, and has a 0.875 save percentage over that span. Times have been tough for Reimer, but don’t expect that to keep him down.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, Reimer has all he needs to get through this difficult time.

Jesus didn't tell us that our lives would be easy, but He provides for us in the midst of our trials, tribulations, and temptations.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says;  “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus will help you with any trouble you’re facing in your life. Make sure you are running towards Jesus and not from Him.

You’re not alone in your struggles. Rely on Christ, and look forward to the testimony you will have when you come out from this situation.

The Maple Leafs are in San Jose today. Maybe we’ll all get a chance to see Reimer come out of this difficult time; stronger than he was before.